Friday, December 26, 2008

Planned Givers ?

Below is question from a reader about planned giving counselors? You might recall about a month ago I posted about Rev. JD Liggett's annual plea for money. Maybe another reader can give insight as to the historical development of these "fund raisers."


What are the views of WELS having "planned gift counselors" to help write wills, etc. ? I am middle age, and I never remember planned gift counselors existing 35 years ago or so...

Sometimes I think it is a good idea; other times it sounds kind of like a "hard sell".

I think WELS has a lot of money issues, but I am not sure this is the solution...on the other hand, the younger generation does not seem to be making up for the older generation that is passing away.


Bruce Church said...

Of course the advent of Planned Giving might explain why the younger generation can't give to church as former generations did. All the money goes from the older generation to the WELS coffers, and the next generation of WELS members is left with nothing. The Plan Giving counselors are there to ensure that the will can't even be contested in Probate Court by the children.

The dark side of Planning Giving is a lot of this money going to the synod ends up going to Church and Change missions.

Anonymous said...

You are right. WELS has a lot of money issues. As the Kuske report pointed out, it was due to imprudent action. WELS has not and does not worry about prudence instead leaving it up to God to bless whatever they do.

The matter of what to do raises issues most of the clergy try hard to ignore. Firstly, WELS is a money need institution. Money makes everything possible since worker training and mission work takes lots of it.

WELS finds itself in a double bind. With birth rates down and real income declining, the younger generation is not "making up for the older generation that is passing away." Attempting to grow their way out of the financial dilemma means spreading the Word of God for the wrong reason. They won't do that. And spreading the Word because God said so is left up to the ministry, and it does not do it.

The only option left is for WELS to decline -- and possibly fall unless members experience an epiphany from God.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing 'hilarious' about watching the fruits of years of effort get run into the ground by leaders who do not seem to care.

Anonymous said...

Stop supporting Church and Change, and their heresy. Get back to the Word of God -- and what God says to do.

Anonymous said...

I have met with a planned giving counselor. I resisted and even resented the fact that they called on me because of previous gifts to the Synod. That's how they found me at first. And that seemed a bit "greasy". Well it turned out to not be a bad experience or a hard sell.

He emphasised that many people would like to give a gift to the Lord's work right off the bat upon dying. I guess I feel that way. He made sure it could happen and gave some helpful suggestions and a basic outline, which we ran by our attourney and tweaked a few things.

I know some would say that your giving to Church and Change etc. That may be, but I am also giving to many others who need my support and do rely on the established means of grace. Am I inconsistant? Probably, but a gift given in faith, the way I see it, will do what God wants it to do. Until I meet my maker or find a proof positive reason to leave WELS, I will support it. I have left other church bodies out of proper doctrinal motivation and cut off my support to them.

So, that's my take. I don't like the constant pleas for money and feel that there could be better accounting and use of money etc, but I can also improve on my part. that is what God will hold me accountable to.

Anonymous said...

"I don't like the constant pleas for money and feel that there could be better accounting and use of money etc, but I can also improve on my part. that is what God will hold me accountable to."

This is an excellent point. When it comes to stewardship, it's easy to point fingers at what other people or organizations are doing and to use those things as an excuse for poor stewardship.

It's much harder to examine our own lives of stewardship and to repent for how stingy we have been towards God.

If everyone did that, the WELS would have more money than it knew what to do with.

Anonymous said...

Someone wrote,

"Stop supporting Church and Change, and their heresy."

If the leaders of this group are heretical and since their work is public, why haven't they been disciplined by the appropriate authorities? The only fair conclusion one can arrive at is that their theology is the same as the WELS leadership and one could safely say of all the WELS pastors as well who apparently have not filed such charges.


rlschultz said...

There was a period of time in the recent past where we heard a lot about a shortage of pastors in the WELS. What was ironic about that was that there were 12 ordained pastors who were not in the parish ministry, but were full time Planned Giving Counselors. I found that to be rather poor stewardship from the synod. For the sake of the argument, we could have our called workers perform a lot of tasks in which members would benefit. I was always under the impression that this was supposed to be a ministry of the Word. Having pastors do what would normally would be a secular job in financial planning seems wrong.

Benjamin Tomczak said...

Interesting point you raise, RLSchultz.

Why not have a traveling group of WELS financial planners who do this for a living, or merely on the side? Perhaps you could team them with a pastor (locally, or one with experience/ability/talent, kind of like the Schools of Worship Enrichment, Outreach, etc., do) to be sort of the "theological" guy. This way you keep parish pastors in the parish, but still involve them in stewardship training from the end in which they have expertise.

Seems worth thinking about.

Anonymous said...

No matter how much money they get it is never enough. It's always about money. How about more talk about the Lord, and then doing the work of the Lord.

Anonymous said...

When will members see that WELS is being led astray by C & C with their worship of the almight greenback?

Anonymous said...

I don't think there is a shortage of pastors, but a shortage of congregations that either can afford or want to afford a full time pastor. A lot of congregations go without a full timer and depend on retired or sharing a pastor with another congregation.

Ben said...

Whether people like it or not, it takes money to run congregations and schools and missions. Should money be the primary focus? No. Can we just pretend that money doesn't or shouldn't matter? No. People need to be reminded how important it is to give back to God some of the blessings he has given to them. In this materialistic society, it can be easy for people to forget that.